Dear members,

As we head into 2021, with collective bargaining in full swing and the provincial government ready to release its provincial budget and its vision for advanced education within the next three months, AASUA is seeking members to populate four committees whose work will be critical to our bargaining successes over the coming year. It is vital that these committees hit the ground running in the new year, and the more members we have willing to serve, the better we are positioned .

You can put your name forward for any of the committees below by sending a short bio and vision statement to AASUA Executive Director Brygeda Renke.

The following is a list of our association’s needs:

Job Action Committee:

We need to be ready for job action regardless of whether negotiations reach an impasse or not. This includes things like developing a budget for a lock-out or strike, establishing a member communication plan, ordering picket signs and supplies, identifying picketing locations and schedules, identifying and securing headquarters, and figuring out numerous other plans and logistics. The better prepared we are for potential job action, the stronger our position at the bargaining table. As such, the work of this committee is crucial to securing a strong collective agreement. Details on the committees’ purpose and structure are available on our website. For now we are just looking for members to nominate themselves for the committee, and members will be assigned to the various positions once the committee has started meeting.

Member Engagement Committee:

One of the most important tasks ahead of us in the next few months is to properly engage our members in the bargaining process and the overall work of the union. AASUA is in the process of developing a major member outreach and communications campaign for the new year. We must have a strong Member Engagement Committee to ensure our work not only reaches as many members as possible, but that it also reflects the wishes and priorities of the members. This committee will work with Executive to draft messaging, analyze surveys, and coordinate direct outreach and contact with our members. The committee will need to select a chair from among its ranks and develop terms of reference once it is fully populated.

Advocacy Committee:

Over the next few months the Alberta Government will release its final proposal for restructuring advanced education in Alberta. Shortly after that it will release its budget for the coming fiscal year. It is more important than ever that AASUA members are enabled to speak loudly and clearly in defense of our jobs, the university, and the future of post-secondary education. AASUA is in the midst of planning an outward-facing campaign to highlight the importance of our university and our work for the public interest, and we will be working with our allies at the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations and others to defend advanced education across the province. A strong Advocacy Committee will help us fine-tune and execute those campaigns, and help ensure maximum visibility and dissemination. Here too the committee will select a chair from its ranks and develop terms of reference once it is populated.

Academic Affairs Committee:

Now that the Board of Governors has made its decisions with regard to academic restructuring, the University will be moving quickly to implement the new structure. This will come at a time when our members’ teaching and research work has already been seriously impacted by the university’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Academic Affairs Committee is charged with providing the AASUA Executive with expertise, recommendations, and advice required to manage the affairs related to teaching and research by members. This includes things like monitoring and making recommendations on working conditions, academic freedom, teaching and research practices as per the collective agreement, as well as any other academic matters relevant to the AASUA. The full terms of reference for the committee are on our website.

On behalf of our association, I thank you all, in advance, for your willingness to consider this request and urge you to put your name forward for this important work, and look forward to seeing your expressions of interest over the coming weeks.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy and restful holiday season. It has been an incredibly challenging year for all of us, both professionally and personally, and we are all in dire need of some time to relax, reflect, and re-energize. I hope you are able to find that over the next couple of weeks, and I look forward to reconnecting with you in the new year as we work together to continue advancing the well-being of our members, our university, and our province.